Author Interview: Jennifer Westall

The Solitary Bookworm and Reading Addiction Blog Tours presents Jennifer Westall, author of Love’s Providence (which I might add that I enjoyed a lot and review to follow) so let’s all give it up for Jennifer Westall!

The Solitary Bookworm: Welcome to The Solitary Bookworm Jennifer. Can you share to us a bit of history of how you became a writer?

Jennifer Westall: About nine years ago, I started reading a story my little sister was writing and posting on a website called Fictionpress. I started reading other stories, and one night I just decided to start writing the story of how my husband and I met on St. Simons Island. I had always thought it was pretty romantic, and it was a lot of fun reliving those days and dramatizing them. It was such a horribly written story! I don’t even have that story anymore. I got stuck several times and put it down for a month here and there, but I finally realized it was much more fun to write a fictional story than to try to write the true story. So I rewrote the whole thing, adding twists and playing around with it. I just fell in love with the whole process of creating this imaginary world.

TSB: Who are your literary inspirations?

JW: Zora Neale Hurston’s book Their Eyes Were Watching God has been my favorite book since I read in high school. The opening paragraph alone makes me dream of being a write than can paint pictures in readers’ minds with such beauty. Oddly, though I don’t really enjoy his stories, Stephen King was an inspiration when I picked up his book, On Writing. He gives such wonderful, simple advice that made me believe I could actually be a writer.

TSB: If you can speak to one author (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

JW: I’d love to sit down and chat with Jodi Piccoult or Joshilyn Jackson just to talk about how they manage writing so much with children and family.

TSB: If you can be a literary character for 24 hours, who would it be and what would you do?

JW: I would love to be Lucy Pevensie, and I would go exploring Narnia.

TSB: Any pet peeves when it comes to writing (and reading)?

JW: Too many pet peeves! Grammar mistakes bug me, especially if they’re obviously from misunderstanding and not just a typo, but I can deal with it if the story is interesting. One of my major pet peeves is lengthy exposition that disrupts the momentum of the story. know the whole concept of “showing” versus “telling” is subjective and difficult to navigate at times, but I get bored with being told about the characters rather than getting to discover them and form my own idea of who they are.

TSB: Any good book you read lately?

JW: I really enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars, as well as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

TSB: Why should the readers read Love’s Providence?

JW: It’s a story I think a lot of young women can relate to, with heroes you can fall in love with. It’s a chance to fall for a human “Edward vs. Jacob” (who aren’t as perfect as their vampire/werewolf counterparts, but I think that makes them more appealing).

TSB: What can the readers expect from you these coming months? Any work in progress?

I’ve started working on a trilogy based on some events in my grandmother’s life during the Great Depression. My cousin and I recently discovered some well-guarded family secrets that have been amazing. I can’t wait to share my grandmother with others through this story. I hope to have it completed by spring of next year.

EXCERPT

Later that evening, Lily stood on the playground and squeezed the sand between her toes as a warm, moist breeze swirled strands of hair around her face. The village shops by the pier had been teeming with tourists all afternoon, but most of them had closed down hours ago. The sounds of traffic and screaming kids had faded into a gentle lapping of the ocean against the nearby rocks.

Her feet ached from walking around for the past several hours, and her head was beginning to throb as well. To make matters worse, her dad had insisted that she keep an eye on Kara and her cousin Rachel, which meant an evening full of aimlessly wandering through tourist shops and listening to shallow comparisons of one guy after another. At this point, she wanted nothing more than to go back to the beach house, put her feet up, and relax with a good book.

A few yards away, Kara and Rachel competed to see who could swing the highest. As much as they insisted on being treated like adults, it was amazing how childish they could be. She rolled her eyes and sighed, glancing down at her watch. Nearly time to go.

“Y’all about ready?” she called.

Rachel jumped out of her swing first, followed by Kara who narrowly missed landing on her rear. Rachel doubled over with laughter, and Lily couldn’t help but laugh too. Kara flushed bright red as she glanced around to see if anyone else had seen her stumble.

“Nice,” Lily said.

Kara ignored her and straightened her clothes. Rachel slid her feet into her sandals and tugged her shorts back into place, though they still left little to the imagination. She smoothed her dark hair and picked her purse up off the ground. Then suddenly she squealed like a mouse and waved Kara toward her.

“Look, those cops over there are cute!”

Lily followed her gaze to the massive live oaks that provided a canopy over a picnic area of the park. It was empty now except for two officers talking quietly at a picnic table in the lamp light, their bikes resting in a rack nearby. From several yards away they appeared similar—broad shoulders, dark hair, well-built. Nothing spectacular.

“You’re hopeless,” Lily said. “They’re way too old for you to even think about.”

Rachel shrugged. “So? Cute is just cute. Age doesn’t factor.”

Lily looked at them again. Maybe Rachel was right, but she wasn’t interested in another lame discussion about guys like they were a tasty dessert item.

“They’re all right, I guess. Not really my type.”

Kara snorted. “Oh please. I think you have to date more than one person to have a type.”

Rachel laughed and looked away from Lily’s glare.

“Well, you are the expert,” Lily said. “How many boyfriends have you had?”

Kara took a few steps closer and jutted her chin at Lily. “I know a lot more than you think. I know that hanging out with one guy since you were nine years old doesn’t make you an expert. You wouldn’t even know what to do if a great guy was interested in you.”

“Sure I would. I’d say thanks but no thanks.”

“Oh my word, Lil.Seriously. There’s something wrong with you.”

“I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t want to date right now.”

Rachel’s mouth fell open. “Really?”

“Look, I just want to enjoy my vacation. You know, relax a little, read a good book, take a walk on the beach. I don’t need drama.”

Kara shook her head. “I’m not talking about a serious relationship here. Look around. There are cute guys everywhere. Loosen up and have some fun.”

“I don’t need a guy around to have fun.”

Kara winked at Rachel. “Well, if you’re going to be hanging around us, you better get used to cute guys being around. In fact, I think we should start right now.” She nodded toward the tree where the cops were still seated. Rachel’s face lit up.

“Oh no,” Lily said. “We’re going back to the house. It’s nearly midnight.”

But they sped away before she could stop them, so she threw her hands in the air and followed. This was going to be humiliating. As she approached the officers, the girls sang hello in unison. She could just imagine what these two gentlemen must be thinking. Leaning back on their elbows in identical poses, both of the officers grinned at the girls.

Then she caught a glance from the one on the left, and his eyes traveled down her legs. A sliver of a smirk played at the corner of his lips. Maybe gentleman wasn’t the right word. Kara rattled off introductions, oblivious to the amusement on their faces.

“I’m Kara. This is my sister, Lily, and our cousin, Rachel.”

Lily offered a polite nod. There had to be a way to exit gracefully, but she couldn’t think of one. Kara and Rachel dropped onto the bench of a picnic table opposite the officers, looking entirely too eager. They were practically panting.

“I’m Steve,” the one on the right said. “It’s nice to meet you, ladies.” His smile lit up his whole face, and his eyes had a warm puppy-like expression. Lily relaxed a little. At least one of them was friendly anyway.

“You can just call him Poindexter.” The other officer’s eyes sparked with mischief, and Steve slapped him across the chest.

“I know you don’t want me to tell them what they can call you, Rambo.

“Rambo?” Rachel asked, tilting her head.

He waved his hand to dismiss the question. “Forget it. It’s not that funny anyway.”

On closer inspection, the nickname seemed fitting given his dark waves and bulging muscles. He probably did think he was some sort of action hero. She could practically see him admiring his biceps in a mirror.

“So what is your name, Rambo?” Lily asked.

Their eyes met, and his lips tipped into a smirk.

“Walker. Alex Walker.”

Yep, definitely an action hero.

“So what are you supposed to be?” she asked. “Double-oh-six-and-a-half?” The retort slipped out before Lily could catch it.

Steve snickered and looked away from Alex’s murderous glance.

“Well, you can just call me Daddy.” He cocked an eyebrow at her, an obvious challenge, but his grin never changed.

Lily held his gaze, irritated by the way her stomach flipped. Must have been something she’d eaten.

Rachel finally broke the awkward silence. “So, um, is it usually this quiet around here?”

Steve shook his head. “Nah, it’ll pick up tomorrow, trust me. This place’ll be crawling with people and screaming kids.”

“And plenty of little boys for you girls to play with, I’m sure,” Alex added.

Rachel’s chest sprang out as she huffed. “We are not little girls, and we are not interested in little boys.”

“How old do you think we are anyway?” Kara asked.

Lily couldn’t wait for this response. Alex had wandered into dangerous waters, but he seemed oblivious. He put his fingers to his chin and assessed them.

“Hmm, let me see.”

Steve waved off the challenge. “I can’t ever tell.” He sent a knowing grin at Lily, and she couldn’t help but smile back. At least he had some sense.

“Well,” Alex said, looking first at Kara, then at Rachel. “With all the make-up, you look about twenty-one. So I’d have to say you two are about thirteen, maybe fourteen.”

Kara’s mouth dropped open and Rachel gasped. Lily could barely control her laughter.

“What?” Rachel exclaimed. “I am fifteen, almost sixteen!”

“And I am already sixteen!” Kara folded her arms across her chest.

“Whoa! Don’t get your panties in a wad.” Alex threw up his hands in surrender. “I was just giving you a hard time.”

As the girls continued to sulk, he winked at Lily. Something about him sent a shiver down her arms.

“And how about you?” he asked.

She hesitated. She shouldn’t let him bait her into comments she might regret. Arrogant or not, he was an officer of the law, a position she had always been taught to respect.

Rachel finally spoke for her. “She actually is twenty-one.”

Kara lifted a brow, a puzzled look that seemed to ask if she was okay. Lily decided to ignore it and Alex as well.

She turned and looked out over the ocean, wishing she could enjoy it alone. The ocean and sky had melted into one large black expanse, but she could hear the waves tumble into the rocks not far away.

“So, how long have you been police officers?” Kara asked.

“Seven years for me,” Steve answered.

“You’re kidding. You don’t seem that old.”

Steve laughed. “I went into the police academy right out of high school. Been doing this since I was eighteen.”

Lily glanced at Kara and caught the slight nod toward Steve. She knew she was being rude, but what did Kara expect? Flirting with a stranger wasn’t going to fill the hole in her chest. Still, she supposed she should at least be polite.

“That’s pretty young to become a cop,” Lily said. “You didn’t think about going to college?”

“Nah.” He grinned like the thought was absurd. “I never wanted to do anything but be a cop. Dad’s a cop. Mom’s a cop. Just seemed natural.”

He smiled at her again, and the warmth of it reached out to her. It wasn’t much, but it made her smile. Maybe getting to know Steve wasn’t the worst idea in the world.

***

Alex caught the flush in Lily’s cheeks as she smiled at Steve, and he took a quick glance at his partner. Steve was the nicest guy he’d ever met. Too nice. And he wasn’t about to let some snobby chick get the wrong idea about him. Besides, no matter how nice he was, even Steve could be tempted by a hot girl, and he had to admit this one was a looker. Her legs had caught his attention first—long, athletic—but it was her eyes that he kept coming back to. They were cool and aloof, wandering over everything in the park, except him. He could tell from the moment she walked over that she’d rather be anywhere else. Until now.

He’d have to nip the flirting before she mistook Steve’s goofy grin for something more than friendly conversation.

“So that makes you about, what, twenty-five?” Lily asked.

“Yep, I’m getting old.” Steve’s chest shook with his chuckle.

“Thankfully you finally found a good woman to take care of you in your waning years.” Alex darted his eyes over to Lily as he spoke, satisfied with the subtle fall of her smile.

Steve’s face lit up with his crooked grin, unaware of the hope he’d just crushed.

“Yeah, I got a good one alright.”

“How long is it to the wedding?” Alex threw that one in for good measure.

Steve looked up at the stars as if he expected the answer to be spelled out as a connect-the-dots puzzle.

“I guess about six weeks or so.” He looked back down at the girls and grinned. “I don’t have much to do with the planning. I’m just supposed to show up on time.”

The younger two dove into questions about the wedding, though Steve never seemed to give good enough answers. Lily hung back, of course, her eyes drifting down the beach. She crossed her arms over her chest and shifted her weight back and forth like she couldn’t wait to get out of there. The lights of the ice cream parlor across the parking lot went dark, and she looked down at her watch with visible relief.

“We should probably get going.”

The blond glanced at her watch as well. “We still have a little time left. What’s the big hurry?”

“You two are supposed to be back by midnight.” Lily pointed a look directly at the brunette with all the make-up. “Your parents would kill me if I let you stay out late, and you know it.”

“A few minutes isn’t going to hurt anything,” she whined.

He watched Lily squirm. She looked like a kid in desperate need of a bathroom break. Too damn good to hang out with public servants probably.

“Yeah, Lily,” he said. “What’s the hurry? Don’t you like us?”

“Uh, well…” she stammered. “It’s not that. I just don’t want them to get in trouble.”

“Let me guess,” he said. “You do everything you’re told and you’ve never disappointed anyone.” She opened her mouth to respond, but he cut her off. “You’ve never missed a single curfew in your life, have you?”

“What’s it to you?”

“Well, that must be an exciting life.”

She swung her weight to the other hip and shot bullets of contempt from her eyes.

“Just because I take my responsibilities seriously doesn’t mean I can’t have a good time.”

“Oh, I’m sure you’re the life of the party.”

Little Miss Perfect was making this way too easy. She turned and jerked her head at the other two.

“Let’s go.”

They stood up and flashed adorable smiles. Then they sang their goodbye as bubbly as they had their hello. The brunette flipped her hair and winked, and he stifled a laugh. That girl was going to be trouble in another year or two.

Lily, on the other hand, was already trouble. He could feel it. Something about her still lingered after she’d disappeared, like the aftertaste of an expensive wine. It reminded him of why he hated the stuff.

Love’s Providence

Paperback | Kindle | B&N | LULU

Collegiate athlete Lily Brennon has always been the piece that doesn’t quite fit in the puzzle, especially in her fragmented family, and no amount of rule-following perfection seems to bring her any closer to the love and acceptance she desperately seeks. If not for Jackson Carter, her childhood best friend and the only boy she’s ever loved, she’s sure she would have run away years ago. But when Jackson loses his father and a future basketball career within months of each other, his faith is so shattered, he shuts out everyone, including Lily.

After months of heartache, Lily begins to piece together a life without Jackson, and while vacationing on a beautiful island off the Georgia coast, she begins a long-distance romance with Alex Walker, a police officer with a quick wit and a cocky grin. He revives her hope in love again, but their intense attraction and his devastating secret test Lily’s values, stretching them until they break. Through her struggles to remain true to her principles, an agonizing choice between Alex and Jackson, and a series of terrifying events that threaten all of them, Lily must endure losing everything she’s been grasping so tightly. Only then will she discover the depth of the love that already surrounds her.

AUTHOR BIO

Official Website | Blog | Pinterest

I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and Holly Pond, Alabama, two very different towns that I love for so many reasons. Holly Pond is my soul, the place where I go to remind myself of who I am and where I come from. It’s a quiet place that allows me to reset when I’ve fallen off track.

Birmingham is my heart, the place where I lived out my story. I go there to remember my best friend, my first love, my first job, my first heartbreak.
And then there is Saint Simons Island, the place I go to feel alive, to feel the breeze off the ocean, the salt on my tongue, the excitement of my first (and only) summer fling.

I may reside in the suburbs of Atlanta, creating memories with my sweet boys, but I call several places home.

Photobucket

Advertisements

Author Interview: Laurel Osterkamp + giveaway

Today, The Solitary Bookworm welcomes Laurel Osterkamp author of November Surprise, Campaign Promise, Starring in The Movie of my Life, Looking for Ward, and Following my Toes. Without further ado, Laurel Osterkamp everybody!

The Solitary Bookworm: Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp?

Laurel Osterkamp: Definitely! Lucy, the main character, even states the theme towards the end. “It’s our history that brought us to this point, and it’s made us who we are.” Since the whole book is about finding parallels between Lucy’s personal dramas and the country’s public dramas, I think that’s pretty fitting.

TSB: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

LO: I have a writing group where we share our work and give each other feedback. They always tease me about the lack of setting in my books, and when I actually describe the setting, they tease me for that too! I forget to provide details, so that’s something I really need to work on.

TSB: How many books have you written and which is your favorite?

LO: I’ve written three full length novels: Following My Toes, Starring in the Movie of My Life, and November Surprise.
Also, two novellas: Looking for Ward and Campaign Promises I think my favorite is a tie between Starring in the Movie of My Life and November Surprise. I really pushed myself and discovered new things about my writing while working on both of them, but in different ways.

TSB: If you had the chance to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who would you pick and why?

LO: That’s hard. Whoever plays Lucy has to come off as smart, pretty without realizing it, and believable from the ages of 17 to 37. Perhaps Gennifer Goodwin.

TSB: When did you begin writing?

LO: I’ve been writing things for fun, like journals and short stories, for as long as I can remember. I started writing sketch comedy about 15 years ago, and my first book, Following My Toes, was written about eight years ago.

TSB: How long did it take to complete your first book?

LO: The first draft took about six months, but all the revisions took well over a year. I guess all total, it was around two years.

TSB: Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?

LO: Oh, sure. There are tons. Today I’ll mention Jennifer Weiner. She’s very prolific, and I love how she helped to redefine the romantic heroine. Good in Bed was one of the first “chick lit” novels with a flawed main character, who was beautiful and strong in her own way.

TSB: What is your favorite part of the writing process?

LO: Probably revisions. By that time I know the characters and the story arc really well, and I can work on refining the details and making it as perfect as possible. The challenge can be a lot of fun.

TSB: Describe your latest book in 4 words.

LO: Awesome political love story!

TSB: Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?

LO: I have a blog written in Lucy’s voice about the current election and her marriage to Monty. It’s fun to continue their story. You can read it at http://novembersurprises.blogspot.com

This spring I was on a federal jury, and of course the whole time I was thinking about how I could use the experience for my next novel. I have some ideas, so that’s what my next book will be about. Since it’s going to be fiction, I can make jury duty much more exciting than it actually was!

GIVEAWAY

Laurel Osterkam is hosting a giveaway for $30 Amazon gift card. Want to know the details?

  • Comment on this post to get 1 entry.
  • Purchase November Surprise (link indicated below) and forward your receipts to  laurel@pmibooks.com for additional 10 entries.

Winner will be chosen on Oct 12th. Good luck!

Title: November Surprise
Publisher: PMI Books
ISBN: B008TWYW0U
Date Published: 8/2012
Purchase Links: Amazon

For Lucy Jones, the distinction between love and politics is hazy at best. Both can be all-consuming, and either can lead to a heart-breaking loss or an exhilarating win. Whatever the case, if you’re seen as a loser, you probably are one. Lucy first learns this lesson in 1988, when she’s a shy girl, battling a high school bully and rooting for Dukakis. Through the years Lucy will experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat as she makes the choices that define her. Meanwhile, she also struggles to define her relationship with Monty, who comes in and out of her life like the changes in public opinion. Is Monty simply a one-night stand, a kindred spirit, or the love of her life? And by 2008, can he offer her a change to believe in?

Over the course of twenty years and six presidential elections, Lucy grows and adjusts with the times. Filled with snarky political and pop-culture references, November Surprise is about the journey we take to believe in a candidate, in love, and in ourselves.

November Surprise is a companion piece to Campaign Promises, which is free on Amazon. They can be read in either order. Both have a liberal slant.

EXCERPT

Monty and I have been dancing together all evening. The slow songs are the best, but we also do the Macarena and even the Chicken Dance. I can’t stop laughing the entire time I’m quacking my hands.

Jack and his new wife, Petra, have fed each other cake. Petra has thrown her bouquet, and all the toasts have been given. The night is winding down, and Monty leads me off the dance floor.

“I’m really glad neither of us had dates,” he says.

“Yeah, me too.” My heart beats just a little bit faster than normal.

“And I’m sorry about earlier. Hitting on you like that. It was clumsy. Will you forgive me?” His face is flushed and his tie is loosened. I’m sure I’ve noticed before how good looking he is, but this is the first time I’ve let myself appreciate it.

“There’s nothing to forgive.” I look around, make sure nobody is watching, and then I stand on my tip-toes and plant a kiss on his cheek. When he doesn’t flinch or pull away, I give him the barest whisper of a kiss on the lips.

It’s all the encouragement he needs.

With a conspiratorial smile, he takes my hand and leads me outside the reception hall. I follow willingly.

When we get to a dark, hidden spot, he wraps his arms around my waist and kisses me deeply. I can feel it everywhere, my entire body is tingling, my knees are weak, and I’m sure that at any moment, my heart will explode.

I don’t want him to stop. But he does.

“Where are you staying tonight?” he asks.

“I was going to drive back to my parents’ house.”

“Hmm…” he leans in and kisses me some more. I press up against him like I can’t get close enough. He tilts his head back ever so slightly, so he can talk.

“That’s a long drive. Do you want to stay with me, instead?”

“You have a hotel room?”

“It’s close to the airport,” he whispers. “I fly back to New York really early tomorrow.” Then he baby kisses my eyes, nose, and chin.

I don’t answer immediately. I’m trying to steady my breathing. “So you can make a clean get away?”

“It’s not like that.” he smiles. “And you haven’t even said yes, yet.” But he knows I’m going to. “You can’t ever tell Jack,” I say.

“He just got married, Lucy. Do you really think he’ll care?”

I rub my hands down his back and across the taut muscles in his arms. “I never had sex with him, and we dated for months. If he finds out you and I had a one night stand…”

Monty cuts me off with another kiss. “I promise I’ll never tell him,” he murmurs, between kisses.

We make out a few seconds more, but our kissing is interrupted when I’m consumed with a fit of giggles.

“What’s so funny?” Monty asks.

I shake my head. “Sorry. It just occurred to me. I’m about to do it with the homecoming king.”

Monty chuckles. “Does that turn you on?”

“Yeah,” I admit. “Kind of. Is that okay?”

He kisses my neck. I tilt my head back and sigh in pleasure.

“Are you kidding?” His lips are a mere centimeter from my skin as he mumbles, and his arms tighten around me even more. “If I had known, I would have worn my crown.”

Now we’re both laughing.

“You know this isn’t the sort of thing I usually do…”

He raises his face so he’s looking me in the eye. “I know,” he says, and he smiles. Crinkles form around his green eyes, and I feel a moment of panic. There’s no way I’m casual enough to be with him for just one night.

“Let’s make it special, okay?” He reaches down and clasps my hand, and I let him lead me somewhere, again. This time, I follow him to the parking lot. Tonight, I’d follow him anywhere.

AUTHOR BIO
Official Website | Blog

Laurel Osterkamp was a comedy writer in Minneapolis before she began writing novels. Her first novel, Following My Toes, has been a Kindle best seller and won the 2008 Indie Excellence Award for Chick Lit. Starring in the Movie of My Life received honors in the 2011 Indie Excellence Awards for Chick Lit, and in the 2011 International Book Awards for Women’s Fiction and Young Adult Lit. Both books are indie approved at indiereader.com. She currently teaches high school, and is working on her next book, which is inspired by her recent jury duty.

Photobucket

Book Review: Death’s Dream Kingdom by Jessica Penot + Giveaway

The Solitary Bookworm & Reading Addiction Blog Tours presents Death’s Dream Kingdom by Jessica Penot

Title: Death’s Dream Kingdom
Author: Jessica Penot
ISBN: B004YXMFYS
Source: Reading Addiction Blog Tours
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | MUSA Publishing

Death’s Dream Kingdom is the story of a woman who is ordinary in every
way. She’s an average mother and wife and is happy living every day mired in the ins and outs of the mundane, until she is murdered. After her death, Cera finds herself lost in a nether land somewhere between life and death where demons, ghosts, and old gods roam the streets preying on the living. In this strange world, Cera is told that she is everything but ordinary. In death, she alone can help heal the rift between worlds and help bridge the gap between life and death. Caught somewhere between her desire to live again and the desire to find heaven, Cera fights those that would pull her into the politics of the netherworld. But the will of the Fates is stronger than Cera’s will and Cera quickly finds herself pulled into a quest that will drag her to hell and back and into the arms of an ancient demon lover. She will find that she is a child a Fate and that she alone can challenge Death himself for dominion over his kingdom.

REVIEW

Death’s Dream Kingdom was an exhilirating read. Death’s Dream Kingdom is a story about life today and life after death. It had entricate characters that gives more depth to the story which only makes the adventure more exciting especially with the inclusion of Greek mytholody. I have loved Greek mythology as long as I can remember and Penot’s version of it through Death’s Dream Kingdom was beautiful. I think the only think I can comment negatively about the book is that the first part has been confusing on my end but Penots use of her imagination in writing Death’s Dream Kingdom has proven to be a talent.

GIVEAWAY

Check out TSBs Facebook page to have a chance to win a copy for yourself. Just fill out the form and good luck!

AUTHOR BIO
Official Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

I am a therapist and writer who lives in Alabama with my three corgis, children, husband, and other strange creatures. My short stories have been published in numerous literary magazines and anthologies including CSM, Summer Gothic, Bound By Blood, and Outer Darkness. I have ghost story columns in theValley Planet and White Cat Magazine where I share my love for ghost stories that send shivers down your spine and keep you up at night. I also share my passion for all things ghostly and haunted at my blog, ghost stories and haunted places.

I am currently working on my next Haunted America Book for History Press, Haunted South Alabama. Follow me at my blog to learn about the ghost stories I am chasing and collecting for this fascinating addition to Haunted America. I’m also workng on the next book in my Circe series. The demon is awake and waiting for my new heroine in the swamps of Southern Alabama. Click Here to Follow My Blog!

You can contact me at jessica.penot@gmail.com

Photobucketv

Book Review: Glimpse by Sara Daniell + Giveaway

The Solitary Bookworm & Reading Addiction Blog Tours presents Glimpse by Sara Daniell

Title: Glimpse: The Dwellers
Author: Sara Daniell
Pages: 278
Publisher: M&E Publishing
ISBN: 9780615685915
Source: Reading Addiction Blog Tours
Purchase Link: Kindle | Print

Orion Draper is not your typical Dweller. She is a non-conformist with an insatiable appetite for adventure. And trouble. So it is no surprise when she finds herself eavesdropping on a Constable meeting. One word that makes no sense, “Earth”, sends Orion on a quest for answers.

What is this “Earth”? And why has it never been mentioned before? Her search is soon over, but not without a heavy price to pay. Forced to leave behind the only home she has ever known, Orion fights for the chance to return. Every corner holds a new danger, and every shadow hides a secret. No one can be trusted, and no town is permanent.
Will Orion ever return to Dandux? Or is she forever condemned to repeat this hell she now knows?

REVIEW

Glimpse is a story about Orion and her life as a Dweller in the Sphere, speficially Dandux. Orinio is tagged as a troubled teen according to the Spheres code and that doesn’t suit well with Orion. She maybe a little different but troublemaker she is not. Together with her friend Sage she snoops around the perimeter of Dandux after eavesdropping at a secret meeting and that night turned her and Sages life around.

Orion is a bull headed girl who doesn’t take sh*t from anybody as long as she does what she think is right. Someone who will do anything to prove her point eventhough death can be a possibility. Sage is a very faithful friend. Very colorful character, street smart and devoted to her friend. Together they try to fight hunters to survive inevitable death. They meet Plath, a lead hunter who seems to be on their side after an encounter where Plath left them and helped them live but is Plath one of the good guy or bad guy?

The world building was phenomenal, I couldn’t put it down. The pacing was fast and I finished this book in one sitting. The story felt like dystopian-ish (a genre that I don’t usually read) but it worked well for me. The end of the story was intriguing so I can’t wait to read on what will happen to Orion in the next book. An awesome book to start what seems like a great series. For only $.99 this is definitely recommended and worth it.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*

GIVEAWAY

It’s that time again to win one awesome book so head over at TSBs Facebook Page, fill out the form and good luck on winning! 🙂

AUTHOR BIO
Blog | Facebook

Sara Daniell is a 27 year old from a small town in Arkansas. She is married to her best friend, has two amazing daughters, and is a full time college student working towards her Masters in Special Education. When not busy with working, doing homework, and being a mom, she loves to read and write.

Sara Daniell is the author of The Holly Nather Trilogy & The Dwellers series.

Favorite Quote:
“You’re off to Great Places! Today is YOUR day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!” ~ Dr. Seuss



Book Review: Guardian of the Moon Pendant by Laura J. Williams

The Solitary Bookworm & BB Book Tours presents Guardian of the Moon Pendant by Laura J. Williams

Title: Guardian of the Moon Pendant
Author: Laura J. Williams
Publisher: Laura J. Williams
Purchase Links: eBook | Print copy

The MacAlpin women are of a fierce clan, born from a rare bloodline that harbors a dark and powerful secret – a mystical heirloom called the Moon Pendant. It is the key to controlling the MääGord standing stones, a magical Portal into the Otherworld, the realm of the Fae.
Anabel and Izzy’s MacAlpin are two sisters, polar opposites, living separate lives.

Anabel’s life is going precisely according to her plan, a ring on her finger from her steady beau, Edgar, and medical school in the fall.
Izzy’s life is filled with scars and wounds from her past. Dubbed the “spare child” by her family and treated poorly, she rebelled, and now lives life by her own rules.
These two sisters’s worlds are about to explode when one of them must go to Scotland and fulfill her duty as the Guardian of the Moon Pendant, by recharging this magical heirloom with four elementals, air, earth, water, and fire, and then finally close the Portal.

There’s only one problem…

The Baobhan Sith – a vampiric faery who lures men in with her hypnotic voice, feeding on their blood or transforming them into Màrmann, her zombie-like warriors who do her bidding – desires the Moon Pendant to take control over the Portal, opening a gateway into the realm of man, helping her to seek revenge on the MacAlpin clan, and to quench her eternal thirst for human blood.
Anabel finds herself torn between a sinfully handsome Scottish warrior, Blane and her fiancée, Edgar. Izzy finds herself, angered by her sister’s lack of faith in her.
Both sisters are forced to help one another, but may end up killing each other in the end.

Will these two sisters put aside their differences before the final task to charge the Moon Pendant or will the Baobhan Sith, the vampiric faery, be successful and open the Portal into the Otherworld?

REVIEW

Guardian of the Moon Pendant is my first highland/Scottish book, and it was incredible. It was a story with amazing characters, strong story line and thrilling action screens. Although 30% of my journey with Williams’ book was a confusing, that didn’t stop me in enjoying Guardian of the Moon Pendant.

Characters. Main characters Izzy and Anabel are a sisters and they don’t get along. Though most of the time they quarrel and whine a lot (which makes them somewhat childish to some point) about each other and almost anything, the characters for me felt genuine – capturing sibling rivalry to the dot. I myself quarrel with my younger sister a lot and we fight with almost anything but the love is there – which also reflects with the MacAlpin sisters. They are like north and south and it seems like there’s no way to find the middle ground with the two but in the end, everything worked out. Blane on the other hand I was not feeling so much love. I think part of it is because as I stated this is my first highlander story so I may not be feeling the appeal compared to some readers but character wise he’s okay. Anabel and Blane’s attraction is one of my “huh” moments. I didn’t feel it. For me the story could have done without it and still get an amazing story but it’s there so yeah.

POV. Guardian of the Moon Pendant goes back and forth between Izzy and Anabel and I don’t have any issues with dual or multiple POV as long as the story flowed flawlessly, and in Guardian of the Moon Pendant it did. Dual POV is a good way of knowing what the other character is feeling and thinking making a story more in-depth in my opinion and I love that about this book.

Story. The story started out with the MacAlpin family (Izzy, Anabel and their mother + Edgar) and that gave me a little glimpse about the characters but it was a bit rushed going to the main plot itself which confused me a little bit. It was like Anabel was designated guardian and all the information was dumped rather than being explained – so that’s where my main issue lies. The fae element in the story added spunk coupled with Izzy’s sarcastic dialogues was what really made me enjoy the story in spite my issues.

Overall. I did enjoy reading Guardian of the Moon Pendant. The plot and story line was intriguing and promising but the characters needed more details for me. The ending was okay as well and no loose ends so that was double okay for me. I think I’ll enjoy this better if I had read highlander/Scottish stories in the past more so maybe I’ll re-read this in the future, we’ll see. And I have to add this: that cover is so captivating. Lovely, lovely cover.

AUTHOR BIO
Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Laura J. Williams is a hopeless and lost cause, tucked away in her dark sleeping chamber, in her gloomy abyss of a writing cave, separated from the realm of man, chomping on chicken legs and quenching her thirst with large glasses of red wine. She is consoled daily by her rescued cat, baby-kitty, who only gives her love when she wants to.

Aye, it is a sad life she lives…
But, God danced the day Laura was born, the angels rejoiced, and the demons trembled.

She’s just another day-dreamer with a story to tell, doing her best to kick arse. She hides behind a shroud of anonymity, creating a world of lost mythical creatures, breathing life into them, and praying that someone will take pleasure in her work.
She is the warrior of the heroine, the sorceress of words, yielder of magic, teller of dark secrets, and the jester of tantalizing tales.

BB Book Tours

Blog Tour: Doppelganger by Milda Harris + Giveaway

The Solitary Bookworm and Reading Addiction Blog Tours presents Doppelganger by Milda Harris

Title: Doppelganger
Author: Milda Harris
Pages: 146
Publisher: Self-pub
ISBN: B008R0JPKQ
Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Smashwords

Citrus Leahy is having a really bad day. First she’s late to school. Then she runs into the girl who drives her nuts because she always calls her Orange instead of her name. To cap it all off, when Citrus finally makes it to class, she sees herself already inside. Wait. What? Citrus Leahy has a doppelganger!  It’s probably aliens taking over the world and her life has just turned totally upside down. Goodbye, normal. Hello, paranormal. Luckily, her crush Aedan has the exact same problem!

GIVEAWAY

Here’s a chance to win a copy of Doppelganger by Milda Harris, all you need to do it fill out the form located in TSBs Facebook Page. Good luck!

AUTHOR BIO
Official Website | @mildaharris | Blog | Facebook

Author Milda Harris is a Chicago girl who ran off to Hollywood to pursue a screenwriting dream! She has a dog named after a piece of candy (Licorice), was once hit by a tree (seriously), and wears hot pink sunglasses (why not?). Between working in production on television shows like Austin & Ally, Hannah Montana, and That’s So Raven and playing with her super cute dog Licorice, she writes young adult murder mystery, horror, paranormal romance, and chick lit novels.

Her books Doppelganger, Adventures in Funeral Crashing, Adventures of a Graveyard Girl, The New Girl Who Found A Dead Body, and Connected (A Paranormal Romance) are for sale now!

September 3 – Reading Addiction Blog Tours – Tour KickOff

September 4 – Unabridged Andra – Excerpt/Giveaway/PROMO
September 5 – Paranormal Wastelands – Review/Excerpt/Giveaway
September 6 – Cabin Goddess – Review/Interview/Giveaway
September 7 – Firestar Books – Guest  Post/ Giveaway/PROMO
September 8 – A Dream Within a Dream – Review/Excerpt/Giveaway
September 9 –Cozie Corner – Review/Giveaway
September 10 – Literature Lover’s Labyrinth – Review/Interview/Excerpt
September 11 – Bunny’s Reviews – Excerpt/Guest Post/Giveaway/PROMO
 September 12 – Celtic Lady Review’s – Excerpt/PROMO
September 13 – Book Splot Reviews – Review/Guest Post/Giveaway/Excerpt
September 14 – Book Sake – Giveaway/PROMO
September 15 – Lizzy’s Dark Fiction – Review/Excerpt/Guest Post/Giveaway
September 16 – Andi’s Book Reviews – Review/Guest Post/Excerpt/Giveaway
September 17 – The Solitary Bookworm – Review/Guest Post/Giveaway
September 18 – Book Maven – Review/GuestPost
September 19 – Kimmie’s Bookshelf – Excerpt/PROMO
September 20 – The Thoughts of a Girl – Review/Excerpt/Giveaway
September 21 – Whoopeeyoo! – Review/GuestPost/Giveaway/Excerpt
September22 – Debbie Jean’s Blog – Review/Excerpt/Giveaway
September 23 – My Escape – Review/Guest Post/Giveaway
September 24 – Feed My Need for a Good Read – Guest Post/Excerpt/PROMO
September 24 – Colorful Bookshelves – PROMO
 September 25 – Known to Read – Review/Giveaway/Excerpt
September 26 – The Book Faery Reviews – Guest Post/Giveaway/Excerpt/PROMO
September 27 – One Page at a Time – Review/Excerpt
September 28 – TE Garden of Books – Excerpt/PROMO
September 30 – My Reading Addiction – Excerpt/Giveaway/PROMO
October 1 – Library Geek Girl – Review/Guest Post

Photobucket

Guest Post: Why Covers are so Important + Giveaway

Hello guys. Please welcome A.L. Jackson on the blog today, author of Pulled! I just reviewed Pulled and I loved it. Don’t want to gush or rant here since A.L. deserves all the spotlight! 🙂 Without further ado –

Hey All! I’m A. L. Jackson, author of Pulled and Take This Regret. I just wanted to thank Insomnia of Books for allowing me to share with all of you today, and on such a cool topic, Why Book Covers are so Important.

So let’s be honest…how many of you have purchased a book based on the cover alone? I have! Most of us are very visual creatures, our attention caught by the beautiful, the unique, and at times, the incredibly strange. We’re drawn to color and style, sharp lines, and bold words.

But what does that mean for covers? They say you only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention on the internet, and when 80% of books today are sold on Amazon and with the massive number of titles that are listed there, it’s now more important than ever for covers to catch a potential reader’s eye.

There are a few key elements every book cover should have. The first and foremost is it should be pleasing to the eye—something that makes someone browsing titles stop and think, Wow, that’s an amazing cover. This is the point where your cover has done its job in making someone take a closer look at the book itself. The cover should also tell the potential reader something about the story inside, the design consistent with the genre of the book, although it should be unique enough that it stands out from the crowd. It should also give the reader a hint at the amazing story they will find inside.

Covers are so important because it’s the first thing someone sees—the main thing that will tell a potential reader to move or to take a closer look.

So what is it about a cover that draws your attention?

GIVEAWAY

It’s that time again you guys. Same as before, all you have to do is fill out the form in TSBs Facebook Page and that’s it! Good luck to everyone who enters and who ever wins, I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. Toodles!

Book Review: Pulled by A.L. Jackson

The Solitary Bookworm and Reading Addiction Blog Tour presents Pulled by A.L. Jackson

Title: Pulled
Author: A.L. Jackson
Pages: 388
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing
Source: Reading Addiction Blog Tour

Melanie Winters and Daniel Montgomery shared a love most only dream of, a love they believed bonded them together for life. When their world is shattered by the tragic loss of their daughter, overwhelming grief and misguided guilt distorts the truth, and their relationship ends in uncertainty and unanswered questions.

For nine years, they drift through life, each unable to forget the one who holds the strings to their heart. In an attempt to escape the pain of her past, Melanie finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage, while Daniel loses himself in a career that means nothing without Melanie by his side.

Now, when their lives again intersect, neither can deny the connection they felt so long ago.

But will the power that drew them together be enough to heal the wounds from their past, and will they have the courage to overcome the insecurities and fears that threaten to keep them apart?

Pulled is a story of attraction and separation, of destiny and duty, of a love so strong it refuses to give up even when all others have.

REVIEW

WOW! Just wow! I need to breath first before I can write a good review on this one. This was one heck of an emotional read – I can’t even think of how to start this review or what I should include or not to avoid giving out too much spoilers.

Okay so, Pulled is a story about Melanie and Daniel – two teenage lovers separated by circumstances they can’t stop themselves. Pulled is not just a story about hearts being broken and dreams being shattered, it is more. 9 years of being separated had its traumatic effects to both Methanie and Daniel as well as their families and everyone was never the same again. For such a young couple, what they went through was too much for them to bear for 9 years. Miserable is not even enough in this case. It makes me sad to read how their story progress and how much pain their situation gave them.

Feeling betrayed – and no I won’t tell you why (soo hard to not include spoilers gah!) – Melanie married Nicolas, a guy she just met, and they stayed married until fate decided to get in the mix and intercepted the events to allow Daniel to see Melanie again. There folks is where it gets too exciting to put down the book I tell you.

Granted that the attraction between Melanie and Daniel was quick but for unknown reasons, it somehow worked for me. I could not even categorize it as insta-love, their connection just felt so genuine and delicate that I really felt the love between them. Nicolas was a great addition to the mix as well. His character is so raw that he really adds drama and friction to the whole story. To summarize Pulled I’ll just have to say this: Read the book, enjoy the journey and be sure that you are prepared to hold your breath because Pulled is so exciting and romantic at the same time it will melt your heart.

SIDE NOTE: Watch out for the guest post and giveaway later today! You need to enter to win a copy of this book I swear! 😛

AUTHOR BIO
Official Website | Twitter | Blog | Facebook

A.L. Jackson first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student. She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.

Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel. A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three beautiful children. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves.

Photobucket

Book Review: Sophie’s Turn by Nicky Wells + Giveaway

The Solitary Bookworm and Reading Addiction Blog Tour presents Sophie’s Turn by Nicky Wells

Title: Sophie’s Turn
Author: Nicky Wells
Pages: 424
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing
ISBN: 9781938404207
Source: Reading Addiction Blog Tour

Slapper. Slut. Adulteress. These are hardly words that Sophie Penhalligan would normally use to describe herself. Yet this is exactly how she is behaving, all things considered, even if she isn’t quite married to Tim yet. And it’s all happening because her past is coming to tempt her! Nine years ago, she met her teenage idol and rock star extraordinaire, Dan, up close and personal. Well, almost. Now Dan has crash-landed back in her life. How could Tim ever stand a chance against the charming, handsome singer? How could she?

REVIEW

Sophie’s Turn is a great beach read, it was a swift and easy story to follow and I think all romantic buff might enjoy. Sophie just wanted the good life – the nice boyfriend, a steady and productive job, great relationship with friends, and a nice little home as a married woman. Sophie’s plan is already in action as she has everything she wants and needs with a slight problem – Tim, her boyfriend. From the start of the story, you’ll really feel something different about Tim. He’s an ok partner but there are just things that can irk you about your partner and Sophie has a few on her mind. With her problems in tow, she accidentally bumped into Dan – the rock star from her younger years and then that’s the start of an emotional roller coster for Sophie.

What I love most about the story is the ending of how Sophie made a decision with her situation against the two men in her life. It was courageous of her and I believe it was the right thing to do. I can’t seem to write a better review of not including spoiler so I’ll give you a gist of Sophie’s Turn. It is a quick and enjoyable read with tons of twist and turn. The writing is so light you’ll be able to read it in no time. I have to admit that when I was reading Sophie’s Turn I kept on comparing it to Bridget Jones although they are so different. Maybe it’s an English thing. Anyhoo, who doesn’t love a quick romance story with an ending that will leave you wanting for more? Although the story ended with a hint of another book, I believe Sophie’s Turn can be read stand alone.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*

EXCERPT

“What the hell is going on here?” I hissed, trying to prevent others from hearing our exchange.

“Oh, Sophie, Dan’s turned up. Isn’t it amazing?” she beamed at me.

“I can see that,” I kept hissing, “But what is he doing here?”

Rachel was quite drunk herself and looked at me with those bleary eyes that usually meant she was up to no good. “Sophie,” she declared solemnly and rather loudly, “you have broken the man’s heart. He has come to reclaim you.” She wobbled unsteadily and I gripped her arm. Usually one to hold her liquor, party-girl Rachel had clearly gone too far tonight.

“Shshshshshshshsh!” I admonished. “Will you keep your voice down? What are you talking about?”

“Dan is completely besotted with you, and he said he couldn’t bear the thought of you getting engaged to Tim so he had to…hic…come and check him out…hic!” Oh God, she had the hiccups. She would have to spend the night in the guest room. Once Rachel got the hiccups, she was beyond salvation. I gave her twenty minutes before she collapsed. I had to extract critical information fast.

“Why did you introduce him to Tim?” I continued my interrogation. “Couldn’t you have sent him away?”

“Oooh noo, Sophie. I couldn’t turn this lovely, heartbroken man away.” She looked at me with big, innocent, and totally unfocused eyes. “In fact, we were just looking for you. You seemed to have… hic… hic… hic…disapp-hic-eared.”

“What did you say to Tim about who Dan was?” I needed to know.

“That he was Dan, of course. Your boy-hic-friend from Tusk!” She dropped this bombshell completely nonchalantly.

“You what?” I squeaked. “Please tell me you’re joking.”

“Noooo, I’m s-hic-erious! Ti-hic-im thought it was very funny. Hic.”

I wrung my hands and barely prevented myself from tearing at my hair. If Tim had thought it was funny, he must have thought Rachel was being facetious or winding him up. He had seen her drunk before (and the experience hadn’t done anything to endear her to him in any way), so it was likely that he hadn’t paid the slightest bit of heed to the truth she was spouting. But I had to move, and fast.

“You,” I said to Rachel, grabbing her by the shoulders and steering her toward the stairs. “You have had enough to drink. You are going to bed.”

“I hic-am?” Rachel asked, surprised.

“Indeed,” I confirmed grimly and marched her up the stairs. “Right, here you are. Guest room. Bed. Now.” I propelled her forward and she flopped on the bed like a rag doll.

“Very ti-hic-hic-red,” she mumbled before passing out.

I, on the other hand, had sobered up dramatically and had only one thought left: damage limitation. I blundered back downstairs, racing quite unladylike in my high heels, and skidded to a halt in the lounge. There they were, companionably sitting in front of the stereo, playing DJ.

I clattered across the floor, grabbing a bottle of champers and three glasses off a table as I went. Tim looked up, and then sprang to his feet.

“And here she is,” he announced to Dan with no small measure of proprietary pride. “Doesn’t she look gorgeous?”

Dan rose to his feet, somewhat unsteadily, and looked me up and down. A sad smile played on his face for just the briefest of moments.

“She looks stunning, indeed. Congratulations to you both.” He walked over to me and planted a chaste kiss on my cheek. “Well done,” he said softly, and Tim beamed gratefully, completely unaware that the comment was aimed solely at me. In fact, he seemed completely besotted by Dan’s manly, famous presence.

“Dan here and I were just discussing rock music,” he informed me as though Dan were his new best friend.

I shuddered for a moment. God forbid.

“Dan has some very interesting views about the movement, you know?”

I winced and smiled a secret apologetic smile at Dan, but he was too drunk to notice anything patronizing in Tim’s comment. I had to separate the two before things got out of hand. Luckily, one of our other guests absolved me of thinking up more ruses by descending on Tim and whisking him away to the kitchen.

Dan and I regarded each other in silence.

“You do look beautiful,” Dan repeated, suddenly sounding a whole lot more sober.

I wanted to cry. “What are you doing here?” I whispered, not trusting my voice.

“I don’t really know,” he acknowledged. “I just felt…lonely. At a loose end. I had to see you and convince myself that…well, that it really is too late. You know?”

I was simultaneously touched and petrified. “I thought we’d agreed…,” I started, but Dan interrupted immediately.

** GIVEAWAY **

Here’s another giveaway for everyone – a chance to win an eBook of Sophie’s Turn and all you have to do is fill out the form in TSBs Facebook page and that’s it. Good luck guys! 🙂

AUTHOR BIO
Official Website | @WellsNicky | Facebook

Rock On! Nicky Wells writes fun and glamorous contemporary romance featuring a rock star and the girl next door. Her debut novel, Sophie’s Turn, is the first part in her Rock Star Romance Trilogy. Not unlike Sophie, her heroine, Nicky loves rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, Nicky is a wife, mother, and teaching assistant. Nicky is also a featured author on the innovative reader/author project, loveahappyending.com.

Originally born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993, and currently lives in Bristol with her husband and two boys. In a previous professional life, Nicky worked as a researcher and project manager for an international Human Resources research firm based in London and Washington, D.C.

Visit Nicky on her blog where you can find articles, interviews, radio interviews and, of course, an ongoing update on her work in progress, the second and third parts of the Rock Star Romance Trilogy. You can also follow Nicky on Twitter and find her on Facebook.
Photobucket

Guest Post: What’s On Your Writing Playlist


Spotify is my best friend when it comes to finding music to write by. This wonderful service lets me find music I like and points me toward music I might like. It lets me create playlists and find playlists from others. Why is all this important? Because I need music to help me block out the real world so I can tell my tales.

I have three playlists on Spotify right now that I use for writing. The first is the oldest and likely one of the strangest playlists I’ve ever created. The playlist is called (with tongue firmly in cheek) “Twilight’s Redemption.” The music comes from, or is inspired by the Twilight films. It begins with “The Lion Fell In Love With the Lamb” and meanders through the instrumentals from the films and instrumental versions of the soundtrack songs. This soundtrack works especially well for the Highland Home books and romances as it is light and romantic.

The second is the soundtrack from “Practical Magic.” I love the songs on this soundtrack as they are both angsty and romantic, themes I often use in my writing. Also, I adore Stevie Nicks and the instrumental backgrounds of the songs.

The third playlist is the newest and is definitely for the darker writing I have been working on lately. This playlist is the score from The Dark Knight Rises. Hans Zimmer is an amazing composer and the music from this epic film is deep and resonates with the darkness I think every writer has buried within him or herself.

If you find music to be in integral part of your writing process, as I do, you might want to check out Spotify. Maybe if enough writers get together on the service, we can start a “writing playlist” group!

Read by review of Nine Lives

EXCERPT of NINE LIVES (Highland Home #5 series)

“Oh my God,” Mairin exclaimed. “I look like a frosted cupcake.”

I poked my head around the doorway of my sister’s bedroom and burst out laughing. My normally tom-boyish sister looked like someone had airbrushed a Vogue model over her. I could still see Mairin under the makeup, hair and the far too flouncy sparkling white gown, but I had to squint.

“Don’t laugh at me, brat,” she said. “How did you let me let Mom talk me into this?”

I held up my hands. “Hey, don’t blame me for this one, sis. This is all you. You let Mom go to the bridal shop with you and Mathias’ credit card. You knew she was going to pick something like this.”

Truthfully, the gown was gorgeous. It had an empire waist and a very short train, but it also had so much lace and so many sparkles, I was surprised my sister wasn’t currently shredding the gown in an effort to get it off.

“Dammit, dammit, dammit. I cannot do this,” she said. “Nope. I won’t. I should have insisted on the stupid town hall and the stupid civil union, but no, I let Mom and Mathias bully me into this.” She waved at herself.

“Mairin,” my mother said, slipping past me into my sister’s room. “You look so beautiful. I knew that dress would be gorgeous on you once the alterations were finished.”

I smiled at my sister over our mother’s shoulder and bolted for my room. The glare which followed my retreat nearly burned. Mairin would complain, but I knew she’d never have taken anything away from our mother. Especially not something as important as a big wedding with all the trimmings.

Of course, her willingness to be on display for the town in a gown that was anything but her own choice was really my sister in a nutshell. No matter what it did to her, if it meant one of us was happier, Mairin would do it. Take my bridesmaid dress. The wedding planner Mathias hired to help Mairin keep her sanity had freaked out when Mairin showed her the dress, but my sister had insisted that the pale colors the wedding planner wanted would look awful on me. So instead of joining the frosted cupcake brigade, I was wearing the deep, forest green, knee-length dress my sister had chosen for me. She could have picked some hideous, flowing monstrosity so I wouldn’t overshadow her, but had instead picked the dress she knew I’d like.

I was pulling the dress over my head when the doorbell rang.

“I’ll get it,” Tawnya called from downstairs. I knew she’d been ready for us to leave for the wedding for at least half an hour, but after the tenuous truce she and Mairin had finally formed after their estrangement last winter, Tawnya was keeping her opinions to herself. I, on the other hand, wasn’t. If they weren’t ready by the time I got my shoes on, I’d shove Mairin down the stairs.

“Hey Tawnya. The other camp is getting anxious and sent me to see what was keeping the bride.” Xavier’s voice drifted up the stairs to me and I smiled. In spite of some pretty big disagreements they’d had in the past, Mathias had asked Xavier to be his best man. Xavier, always looking for ways to improve the political climate of the supernatural community, and because both Mairin and I had begged him, had accepted. It hadn’t been until the tuxedo fitting that he’d truly begun to regret saying yes. The complaints over the fittings had been epic and amusing as hell.

I slipped on my sandals and ran back to Mairin’s room. “The natives are getting restless. We have to go.”

“I heard him,” Mairin said. “Mom, go get in the car with Tawnya. Kerry can help me down the stairs in this monstrosity…um, dress.”

Mom kissed us both before heading down to meet up with Tawnya. I could see her eyes were already beginning to shine with tears and knew that before the end of the ceremony, our mother would be a blubbering mess.

“She’s going to cry all day, isn’t she?” Mairin said.

“Probably. You’re her baby and you’re getting married.”

“Yeah, wait until it’s your turn, brat.” Mairin clasped a thin gold chain around her neck and sighed. “That’s it. No more delays.”

“Don’t you want to marry Mathias?” I asked.

“Sure I do,” she said. “But for all intents and purposes, I’m nineteen. Girls don’t get married this young unless they have to. You know most of the town is going to be watching me to see if I’m pregnant.”

“That’s why you and Mathias are going on a long honeymoon. So you don’t have to worry about being watched.” I held Mairin’s arm as we carefully navigated the stairs. “Besides, admit it. You’re dying to see all the snooty jerks jockeying for position to catch your bouquet.”

Mairin laughed. “I’ll aim for you, if you want me to.”

Xavier looked up at me from the foot of the stairs. I knew he’d heard Mairin and my heart thundered in my chest. He’d already asked me to marry him more than once and I’d told him no. Not no forever, but no for right then. Looking at him in his tuxedo, the tiny, shy smile I loved best lifting just the corners of him mouth, I realized while I still might not want to get married tomorrow, I was ready to say yes to him.

“I’ll take my chances,” I said. “But I’ll make sure I’m right up front.”